How Does A Nail Gun Work?

How Does A Nail Gun Work

Are you a constant associate, or do you have a team to work with at a construction site? For construction site associates, a nail gun is a standard tool that assists them in performing important tasks.

A nail gun is a kind of tool that drives nails into wood or other types of materials. Nail guns are different in type: pneumatic nail guns, combustion-powered nail guns, and electric-powered nail guns.

Don’t you think the performance that is provided by a nail gun is similar to magic?

However, I am going to reveal this magic by answering your question, “How does a nail gun work?”

Once you learn this answer, you can use the nail gun more efficiently and precisely than before. Let’s begin the discussion without delay.

Loading Nails Into Nail Gun

A long strip of nails is available to load a nail gun where the nails are blithely glued to each other. Through the nail gun magazine, these nails are loaded into the nail gun.

If you look intently at the nail gun, you will find a barrel at the end of the magazine. The barrel is used to shoot the nails. At the base of the magazine, a spring is placed to push the nails.

Based on the nail gun type, there are 2 different ways to fire nails.

  1. Using a hammer: In this way, a hammer forces the nails to drive down to the barrel and fires them with high speed and pressure.
  2. Using a powerful spring: When released, the spring hits the hammer that influentially fires a nail via the nail barrel.

Nail Gun Working Procedure

As we have learned about the nail gun mechanism, we will now take a deep dive to learn more about the working procedure of the below nail guns.

  1. Pneumatic Nail Gun. 
  2. Combustion Powered Nail Gun.
  3. Electric Powered Nail Gun.

After learning about the working procedure, you will be able to find the nail gun that will suit your project the most.

1. Pneumatic Nail Gun

Pneumatic Nail Gun

Compressed air is used to perform using this type of nail gun. Without a connection between an air hose and a compressor, you can’t do anything with this nail gun.

The compressed air will drive down the hammer to the nails at the barrel. In a pneumatic nail gun, you have to surpass a safety feature before releasing the compressed air.

For powering, a trigger valve mechanism is used to power a pneumatic gun. The responsibility of the valve is to block the compressed air that enters the chamber.

If you don’t press the plunger onto the material you desire to fasten, the fire will not be done by the nail gun. Once you pull the trigger, the valve will release compressed air to flow to the chamber.

Another plunger is placed at the inside of the chamber, and a hammer is joined with a blade. The plunger needs to be depressed onto the material before the compressed air reaches to the hammer.

After you do this, the plungers get lifted by the compressed air, and it acts as a hammer. Then, the compressed air generates enough force to drive the hammer down; the nail gets fired through the barrel into the material.

A blade is attached to the hammer. The blade confirms only one nail is fired within one shot of the nail gun.

2. Combustion Powered Nail Gun

Combustion Powered Nail Gun

Combustion-powered nail gun depends on internal combustion to generate excessive pressure to drive the hammer. A combustion-powered nail gun doesn’t contain a plunger, and in the place of the plunger, it has a combustion chamber.

Also, through a canister, gas is supplied to the combustion chamber. A momentary electric spark creates combustion within the chamber, and to generate this momentary electric spark, a battery is required.

Once you pull the trigger, the electric spark discharges into the chamber, and thus the combustion takes place. The combustion enhances the pressure of working on the hammer, pushing it down, and driving the nail into your material.

In the combustion nail gun, you will find a blade that is attached to the hammer. The blade plays a similar responsibility as described in the pneumatic nail gun.

Before firing a combustion-powered nail gun, the muzzle will need to be pressed against the material you tied. It acts as a security measure. While operating this type of power tool, you can’t avoid taking care of safety mechanisms.

3. Electric Powered Nail Gun

Electric Powered Nail Gun

The design and function of an electric-powered nail gun are a bit more straightforward than the previous two nail guns. An electric nail gun uses a powerful spring to drive the nail onto a material instead of using high-pressure compressed air or the volatile force of combustion.

The electric gun has a rotating motor that holds back the powerful spring. When you pull the trigger, the muzzle is pushed gently on the material being attached. Then, the spring gets released, which drives the hammer forward, and enough kinetic energy is generated to take off a nail.

You don’t need to put so much strain on using an electric-powered nail gun because they are lightweight. However, both pneumatic and combustion nail guns are more powerful than electric-powered nail guns. It means for light work, an electric nail gun is the most suitable one.

How To Use a Nail Gun


How does an electric nail gun work?

An electric nail gun works by using a powerful electric motor to rapidly drive a piston that pushes a nail into the material. When the trigger is pulled, the motor turns on and moves the piston forward with great force, driving the nail into the material in a fraction of a second.

How does a nail gun trigger work?

A nail gun trigger works by activating a switch that completes the electric circuit and allows current to flow to the motor.

Pulling the trigger presses this switch, which energizes the motor and causes the piston to fire forward, driving the nail. The trigger also has safety mechanisms to help prevent accidental firing.

How effective is a nail gun as a weapon?

While nail guns can cause serious injury or death if misused, they are generally not as effective as weapons. The nails do not travel at high enough velocities to be deadly except at extremely close range.

Nail guns have safety mechanisms that help prevent firing unless they are pressed against a working surface. For these reasons, nail guns are considered poor choices for use as weapons.

Do nail guns shoot like guns?

No, nail guns do not shoot like traditional firearms. While they rapidly drive nails using compressed air or electromagnetism, they do not combust ammunition to generate explosive force like guns do. The nails lack the velocity of bullets, and the tool’s designed purpose is driving fasteners, not inflicting damage. Nail guns lack many of the characteristics of guns that enable their use as weapons.


Now, I believe you have understood the working mechanism of all types of nail guns. Don’t you think the working process of a nail gun is pretty simple? Understanding the firing process of the nail gun and balancing everything is easy to realize.

Although many people purchase a nail gun based on their requirements and project type, the above discussion will let you make a precise decision while purchasing a nail gun.

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